I never thought much about my life being Southern, although I married into a family with one branch of their tree linked to Georgia. I don’t drink the sweet tea, make Chess pie, or have fresh coconut cake as part of my childhood. The only recipe with Southern roots I have is a wonderful horseradish cheese spread that is known for its connections to the Kentucky Derby.
The new Southern Living magazine carries an article called “Pimento Cheese: The Pate of the South”. I thought how strange, was pimento cheese a Southern dish? I grew up on pimento cheese, and then I remembered my mother was born in Russellville, Arkansas. Could her tastes be more Southern than I thought?
I remember so well those days when Mom would pull out the wooden cutting board built into the kitchen cabinets. When she screwed on an industrial strength grinder, I knew it was pimento cheese day! Eventually, I got to help when I was old enough. Pushing chunks of buttery Cheddar through those steel wheels, I watched the pieces come out like yellow worms. Then Mom did the juicy scarlet pimentos before slathering the mounds with heaps of mayo before we ate this concoction on white bread or crackers.
Over the years, I have occasionally bought a tub of pimento cheese at the store, but never made it a priority on my shopping list. Then I saw the Southern Living article with five unique pimento cheese recipes. Some had pecans, chili powder, or even bourbon in them. Sounded strange to me, but I was enticed to try some anyway as they reminded me of homemade pimento cheese from my childhood. So yesterday I made the first on the list.
I started with the Louis Osteen pimento cheese which had a bit of cream cheese added and a dash of red pepper. I cut the red pepper down a bit so DH could not detect it. Wow! What a great pimento cheese recipe! We ate it last night on white crackers as a side to the potato leek soup I had also made that morning. I think we will try it as a grilled cheese with hearty whole grain bread today. Ah, what a great find and touchstone back to childhood.
Louis Osteen’s Pimento CheeseGrind/Stir together the following:
6 cups of grated cheddar
4 oz. softened cream cheese3/4 cup mayo
1 T grated yellow onion (I used 2 T)
1 t. ground red pepper
7 oz. pimentos